The N-Word

I try not to get too offended by minor things. So for example, if a white guy was to say that he is not attracted to black women I wouldn’t take it to heart. That’s his preference, I prefer chocolate to milk so it’s not a big deal. Some guys don’t even like women at all, can’t be offended by that. However, one of my biggest gripes is the use of the N-word. I don’t like the word, I don’t like people using it in my presence like it is part of their vocabulary, I especially don’t like the fact that everyone in the world feels that they can say it because somehow it’s now become a cool word.

Apparently, a non-black celebrity posted herself on Instagram singing along to a song where they used the N-word. It wasn’t a random use of the word, it was part of the song, but it went viral and sparked a whole debate.

On social media, the question was asked whether a non-black person should use this word. Some people (non-black) have said it’s ok as this word has lost its power thanks to rappers and other black folk.

I don’t feel that the N-word should be used at all, by anyone, but my question is if you are not black, why do you want to use this word at all?

Just because as they say “you are invited to the cookout” or “you get a black pass”, doesn’t mean that this word still doesn’t have a derogatory meaning and like once again I ask, why?

Like a lot of ladies use the word “bitch” in their vocabulary. Sometimes in a derogatory way and sometimes to emphasise the word “girl”. If a man was to use this word and used the excuse that it was a term of endearment, he would have the whole #metoo movement after him.

Likewise with other communities, they have turned what was derogatory words used against them and made it part of their language, but if you are not in that community, you don’t know their struggle and so for you to use their terminology even as a joke, well you ostracised in these streets.

When I am in Ghana I hear the boys use the N-word a lot as a term of endearment. I don’t agree with it but they never use this word in reference to me. It’s a “boys, boys” thing. They are boys who listen to rap but haven’t gone through the struggle. They are living in a land where they are the majority and well they are exercising their black privilege. They do however sensor themselves around their elders and don’t use this language in the presence of people outside their race. I think if they were to use this word around their parents, grandparents etc., they would get a long lecture and probably a slap to boot.

I don’t use the word, because to me, it has never been a term of endearment even if Biggie and Tupac used these words (forgive me, I grew up in the 90s and couldn’t mention any of today’s rappers).

I remember when I was at school, I had just started secondary school so around 11 years old. A white guy got into an argument with an Ashian shop keeper. I was buying my magazine on the way home from school and after hurling abuse at the shop keeper he turned to me and said that they were “bloody N’s, just like you, you dirty N”. I went home and straight to my room, I was shocked and replaying the incident over in my mind but never spoke about it as I just couldn’t believe it had happened. So to me, the N-word, will never be a positive one.

So while yes, I get it, the rap culture is a multi-billion dollar business and they use the word a lot so people feel that they can use the word as they like the song and it is in the song but it isn’t right. Please sensor yourselves. In the same way you wouldn’t curse in front of your mothers, I don’t need to hear those words out of your mouth.

So this is why it’s offensive to me and you can take my advise or say I am being sensitive. If however you feel in your privilege that you are entitled to say this word just note that somebody else may feel equally justified to give you a negative reaction if you use this word in their presence.

 

 

 

 

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Green Card Lottery

I really need to get a hobby, or a job or both. I am working on them though but I have a procrastination condition so get easily distracted.

My current distraction is (another) reality TV programme called 90 day fiancé showing the relationships between American citizens and their long distance partners. This programme particularly caught my attention because of a white American lady (I use this term very loosely) and her Nigerian boyfriend.

The lady is in her 50s and the guy is in his 30s and from their interactions it’s fairly obvious that this man’s intention is to get to America and then find a way to escape her clutches.

The lady smokes about 100 cigarettes a day, she is very insulting, she has made the guy stop working and he’s living as a “kept man”. She hates his friends, she made him sleep in his car one night after an argument and she has even shoved a cake in his face.

The lady has also insulted his friends and is very possessive over the guy to the point that I don’t think that he see’s them anymore. The lady also has children and grandchildren, the guy has none and it is obvious that he would love to carry on his legacy. Grandma only has one egg left in her uterus (if that) and it’s probably dead, if this is really love (which I doubt), he hasn’t got a hope with this one.

Now I know I am coming from a place of privilege but really, is your dignity worth so little that you would have someone treat you so low in order to gain a green card? If I had the opportunity to move to America, it would be a good experience to have (I like to travel) but no way will I leave one hardship for another. I do have to understand though that I have a roof over my head and I get to eat three square meals a day but I don’t believe I could honestly sell my soul to the devil to get that chance.

To me, it’s just like swapping one slavery (from where our ancestors had no choice) to a self-imposed slavery. Sadly it is a case of travel and see. When he does eventually arrive in the US, he will find that it is far from milk and honey. It is a cold place, literally and figuratively. In Africa, you can at least survive on very little, here in the West, it can be a hard and lonely place especially if you don’t have a decent job. There are people here that provide food for their kids from a food bank because after paying bills and accommodation they have literally nothing much left.

Poverty is a horrible situation to go to, however there are people that have made it out and become very successful, I don’t think you should let your current circumstance determine your future. Also if you are desperate to go to somewhere like the US, I believe the US diversity lottery is free to apply for. Ok, it’s a long shot but I know people who have managed to win a visa.

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Colourism, Africanism, Racism and all the ‘isms

I have a confession to make. I am a reality TV junkie. I watch them all, the housewives, the hip hop, the non-wives and baby mama’s of athletes. I watch them, and I get mad at myself for watching it, then I read the blogs and I get annoyed at myself but allow me, I have a lot of time on my hands right now.

 

There is a particular show which shows a lot of women throwing bottles and jumping on tables and acting a whole fool for a paycheck but they have singled out a particular girl which has sparked a whole colourism debate.

 

This particular lady is from 1st generation Nigerian American, she has strong African features and she plays American football, she has been called ugly, she has been called aggressive, she has been referred to as a monkey and her castmates have said that she is too dangerous for her to be in their presence. There are some other darker skinned ladies on the cast, however, they have good hair, small frames and European features so even though they have had fights, they are seen as less of a threat. The Nigerian lady in contrast has not actually laid a hand on anyone but she has threatened a few ladies (they did poke the bear though), but nonetheless has not raised a hand on anyone.

 

I have a few theories here. I believe in America, it is a lot like UK in the 70s and 80s. When I was growing up, the Caribbean’s had been in the UK for a number of decades and when the African’s came over, it was very much “us and them”. Each side thought they were better than the other, and each side said they didn’t like the other because “they feel they are better than us”. It was a load of BS but we got through it and especially now where we are marrying cross-culture, we are kind of getting along.

 

In US, let’s face it, a lot of people don’t own a passport, they think Africa is one country, so African’s are still quite alien to them.

 

In addition, this lady is Nigerian. Before I go on, I love Nigerians, I love the way they are unapologetic about their hustle and they say it as they is. They are aggressive though. Not in a beat you up kind of way, but they are aggressive about getting their money, they are fiercely protective of their people and they come across as aggressive when they speak. Like if you listen to Nigerians holding a conversation, especially in their language, you would think they are fighting until they start laughing. They are just passionate in the way they speak, so if you haven’t been around them you may feel intimidated by their boldness.

 

On the ugly issue, I don’t find anyone ugly, attraction is subjective. To call someone ugly is just ridiculous as someone could find you the same way. It is more socially accepted for a black woman with more European features than one straight out of Africa. Somebody (black person) has actually said to me that I don’t look African because of my straight nose and lighter skin, “I’m pretty”. I said in Ghana where I am from and across Africa we come in all shapes and sizes.

 

On the colourist issue. Yes, it is possible for a person of colour to be a colourist. Yes, there is also a prejudice that is associated with it, and yes, you can have dark skinned children and still be colourist. I remember when I was in Ghana, I had been there a number of years so my skin had got a lot darker. I actually hadn’t noticed until an Aunt came over from London and didn’t even say hello “you look so dark” she said, and repeated it a thousand times as if I really should give a damn. Even smother commented when I got back that “my colour had come back”, as if my darker colour was some kind of barrier to life.

 

Smother’s side of the family are all fair, however my sisters and I rank from fairly fair to dark. She doesn’t treat us any different based on our tone but she does sometimes make comments which I liken to white privilege but for the black community.

 

Circling back to this show, do I think they were colourist. To be honest, I don’t get paid as a celebrity blogger, and I write on my blog for free. It’s trash TV and they sign up for the BS to an extent. I will say I don’t like bullies and I hate to see people get bullied in any form, especially when it is amongst our own. We have enough problems within our society without fighting amongst ourselves.

In lean manufacturing they have this thing called “go, see, think, do”. Maybe a trip to “Africa” for those who think we are ugly may open your mind.

 

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The Comprehensive Sexuality Education Debate

The Ghanaian government plans to introduce Comprehensive Sexuality Education in schools. As usual Ghanaians are looking at the negative and the narrative this time is that it is promoting a “Gay Agenda”. I am not going to speak on the gay agenda, my God told me that I should love my neighbour and if I am going to get angry at anything evil and sinful it is going to be aimed at the people who are taking away innocent lives through knife and gun crimes. I am angry at those people who are hateful to others just because there skin is of a darker hue. I am angry at the people who are taking advantage of others whether it be financially, sexually or physically but educating on sex, I can’t be offended by this topic.

Maybe it was the word “sexuality” that got my brethren up in arms but I decided to actually read on this topic. From what I read, it teaches children about their reproductive organs, sexual health, violence, relationship and it does touch on diversity. I believe at every stage from child to young adult it touches on different topics so I didn’t see them talking about diversity and relationships at age 4, it is more during the teenage years where let’s face it, some children are starting to get to grips with their hormones.

According to UNICEF, 17% of women between 20 – 24 gave birth before the age of 18 in 2018 and 2,200 adolescents between 15 – 19 are reported to be living with HIV. While teenage pregnancies and HIV are not isolated to Ghana or Africa, we do need to educate our children especially when they are at the age where they are going to be curious so that they are more responsible.

Now let’s talk about sexual abuse. It happens, you open the daily graphic and there is always a case of how an older gentleman has “defiled” a young child, some for ritual purposes, some because they foolishly believe it will heal them, whatever their reasons, the truth is they are paedophiles. The unfortunate thing is that for every case that makes it into the newspaper there are probably another 10 children suffering in silence. I read an article yesterday whereby a journalist was molested as a child and subsequently raped. It took her 67 years to tell her story. She went through this horrific ordeal and did not speak of this for 67 years. Why, because lets face it, in our society it is the victim that would likely be blamed.

We as Ghanaians are very good about book education, we are very good when it comes to reading, writing and arithmetic, but there is a big wide ugly world out there and while we think we are protecting our children, trust me ignorance is a lot more dangerous.

Now I may be missing something in this CSE uproar, forgive me if I am but I see nothing wrong with education in this matter especially in this world we live in. It would be so lovely to cover a child in cotton wool until they are 18, but let’s face facts, I am a product of Ghanaian parents who as educated as they were didn’t give me much of an education (apart from to say that I shouldn’t bring a baby into the house until I am old enough to take care of one). Not every child’s parent has the capacity to get this education but it is definitely needed so best place “the schools”.

In my opinion, a lot of our adults need educating too.

On my final point, and some people may not want to hear this but there are gay people everywhere, even in Africa and last time I heard, you can’t push “gayism” onto anyone that does not feel that they are gay.

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Sex For Grades and other things

I watched the BBC documentary “Sex For Grades” whereby undercover journalists posed as students at the University of Lagos and University of Ghana to catch out those lecturers or should I say predators sexually harassed female students in order for them to get a good grade. I understand that in the wider case, female students often did not get graded at all if they did not succumb to these advances. If you haven’t seen it, you can catch it on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we-F0Gi0Lqs

Since then the lecturer at University of Lagos was suspended. The lecturer at University of Ghana who was clearly seen trying to initiate an inappropriate relationship with a student is free to swing his dick around as “there was no evidence of him requesting sex in exchange for grades”.

What I find quite fascinating is the commentary from my fellow Africans, a lot of people saying that this is the “white man’s agenda to destroy Africa”. These are obviously people who don’t have children or have little respect for women as whatever the “agenda”, harassment in any form is not ok in my books whether it be Africa, Europe or Timbuktu. Here are my thoughts:

  • There needs to be a thorough investigation, although the lecturer at UG did not offer sex for grades, he was an obviously a creep and well if enough people have come out to say he did it, there is something wrong. How many other lecturers feel they have a right to harass students in this manner, this story did not come out of thin air. I don’t think believe this is an isolated incident, or isolated to the university of Ghana. I have heard stories of girls who had barely started their periods falling pregnant by their school teachers. Does it have to go this far before this predators are weeded out?

 

  • There is a wider epidemic here, these are happening in schools, university and in the workplace. I remember when I was unemployed in Ghana and went for an interview at one company. The CEO all but told me I had the job, that was until I refused a sexual relationship with him. Unsurprisingly, I rejected him, he revoked the job offer. Imagine being so desperate for a job that you will allow a sweaty big bellied guy to lay on top of you just for a monthly salary.

 

  • There is a real need for a robust sexual education course, not the bread and butter stuff but to teach our girls about self-esteem, that you don’t need to sleep with a guy just because he says he “loves” you, or he gives you money, or he gives you a job, or he gives you an A in school. Guys need to learn to respect a woman because these young disrespectful guys will grow up to be just as disrespectful men.

 

  • The law in this area needs to be taken more seriously. The world of #metoo just hasn’t reached the African continent. If it wasn’t for this exposé, these girls will be called liars, or they would say that they were the ones who instigated an inappropriate relationship. Do we have to wait for the likes of the BBC or Anas to highlight these injustices before anything is done.

 

  • This is not an African problem, it happens everywhere. The difference is, when an issue like this occurs, there will be an investigation, there will be a follow up and there will be careful monitoring. I do hope that this is not going to be swept under the carpet never to be heard again.

 

Now I am not talking about the ladies who purposely set out to entrap men, who purposely lay down in return for favours. I am talking about people in positions of power who intimidate their victims and harass them into submission. I also know that there are women out there who are just as guilty of harassment. What I am saying is, it is not right and we need to take this issue more seriously.

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Ghana Quirks

Following on from my “Ghana English” post, I thought I would go into a few of the quirks that have made me laugh over the years. We are a nation of interesting people both in Africa and here in the diaspora.

I am going to start off with the plane journey. I have travelled around Europe, other African countries and the States, once the plane lands you listen to the announcement and in an orderly fashion leave the plane. Travelling to Ghana however, once the plane lands the passengers’ clap and cheer. I don’t know if it is to thank the Lord that the family witches didn’t manage to stop them from arriving but every time, no matter the airline, expect a round of applause.

Disembarking also takes a while, if you are at the back of the plane, don’t bother to get up because it’s going to be a long wait. The reason being, hand luggage. Our European friends usually carry a bag, at most a rucksack, every Ghanaian seems to travel with a trolley case and a big bag, plus whatever they have purchased at Duty Free, you may even see a reef or two (for those who are going for a family funeral). Nobody knows how to travel light.

If you are of Ghanaian origin or if you have Ghanaian friends and you are travelling to the nation. Don’t tell them too far in advance, I don’t know how they do it but there is always someone who is in need of shoes, a new dress, money. Even if that person is travelling in the next week, if they here you are travelling, they expect you to carry something (this happens on the way back too).

ghanamustgo

If you know me, you know my detest for the ECG and the fluctuating power system. When the lights go out, a Ghanaian will say “oh”, well it’s more half a syllable so “o” and when it returns, we cheer and give the God of light a round of applause. Something that is taken for granted in the west is another man’s treasure.

clapping

Driving in Ghana, well it’s not for everyone. I have to admit, I picked up some very bad habits so I tend not to drive much. The government can commission 10 new legal roads, a Ghana man will find away to make his own 11th back road through bushes and peoples houses. So what happens is when everyone gets to a main junction, there is a traffic jam with everyone trying to push in. I used to start work at 8 but would have to leave no later than 5.50 to arrive by 7.30 (bear in mind had there been little or no traffic it would take 30 minutes). On social media they showed police clamping down on drivers not respecting the laws. The worst culprits, government officials. The worst thing is that they were arguing that they were late for parliament and need to be there to UPHOLD THE LAW. First of all, if you need to be somewhere, leave early enough and secondly, practise what you preach.

traffic

Sundays are the only days you will not find much traffic, and drivers appear to uphold the law, because Sundays are for the Lord.

When we take money out of the ATM, we count our money, we don’t even trust our own family members let alone a machine.

My final note for today is when you travel, have your main money, your back up money and your just in case money. I don’t know what happens type of African mathematics happens but your money goes like water. Also don’t go with a view that “oh, this is only $5, $10”, trust me it adds up and if you don’t budget well, you will be running to the ATM more than you care to. Also, there are a lot of ATM’s around, the ones that actually dispense cash is somewhat questionable.

That’s all I can think of right now, but if any more quirks come to mind, I will post a part 2.

You just got to love Ghana.

 

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When He’s Just Not That Into You

I made a conscience decision not to write too much about my relationships. Although in the past I have laid it all out there, as I have grown older I didn’t want to give too much information. However, when certain situations happen, it’s good to put it out there. As I said, when I started writing, and people started reading, I wanted to leave a message even if somebody read my journey and could identify with my struggle and feel “it’s not just me then”.
So, I have just come out of a “relationship”, I use the term loosely as I may have convinced myself of it in my romantic mind but the reality was somewhat different. It was a long distance one and well I’m not that great with relationships in my own city so tried not to catch feelings too much that is until I did. We had met in Ghana but he lived out in the States, and in the beginning he was doing the calling and we would talk all the time, we even discussed the possibility of living in the same country However, after a couple of visits, I realised that it must have become all too real for him and something just didn’t feel right.
I have always been an instinctual person, issues arise when I ignore them and forge on ahead, and this one was no different. What had been an every day conversation was reduced to a “how are you” WhatsApp message, once every couple of days and 8 month’s in, I started to feel like a side chick. That’s when I had to reiterate the point that when I met him, I told him I was looking for a relationship, I was neither looking for a friends with benefits or an international booty call so he needs to be straight with what he wants or let me go. A week later he sends me a message along the lines of “it’s not you, it’s me”, I’d make a great wife but wrong timing, but he is here for me and all the other patronising lines a guy uses to backtrack his way out of a grown up relationship. If I had been a cartoon character, in that minute, I would have turned bright red with steam coming out of my face. This is something that I have heard many times and it sucks.
First of all, it’s not me, I know that, I was minding my own business when he approached me. Secondly, I had no plans to enter into a long distance relationship, my plan was to enjoy more time in Ghana and be on my merry way, just because you see something and you like it, doesn’t mean that you have to have it.
Now I know, guys will say whatever a girl wants to hear to get what they want, but here’s a novel idea. Tell the truth. When a girl says she is looking for a relationship, she doesn’t mean string her along for nearly a year then act like an arse until she gives up. There are actually girls out there, very pretty girls at that, who are not looking for a relationship, she’s out there if you look hard enough. Yes, I like to go out once in a while and enjoy the communion wine, doesn’t make me the one though. I am also a homebody who likes good company and believe it or not, spends most evenings watching TV as opposed to going out to get drunk and get laid. I will tell you that from day 1 and my feelings don’t change on day 301.
Ladies, if a guy is acting like he’s not that into you. Chances are, he’s not. Whether it be physically or mentally, if your gut is telling you he’s not the one, he is not the one. Make your feelings known and keep on telling him until it finally sinks in, if he goes running for the hills, then your time has not been wasted and you will not have missed someone who obviously was not yours to begin with.
On a positive note, I did learn one thing. As you know, it has always been in my plan to go back to Ghana. This person did open me up to the idea of taking a slight detour if Ghana doesn’t pan out immediately. It could be the US if Mr Trump allows me in the country, or I was thinking Canada (although their winters are a bit brutal). The world is my oyster (maybe not Australia though as it is way too far). My options are there though and while I am in this employment transition period, I don’t have to limit where I go next. So I take that positive gem as I get back on the bus and keep it moving.

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